Category Archives: USA Reggae

Toots & the Maytals Awarded Reggae Grammy Posthumously

THE TOUGHEST

By Kevin Jackson, Jamaica Observer

Second Grammy win for Toots and The MaytalBy Kevin Jackson, Jamaica ObsERVER

Toots RIP by Lee Abel

March 15, 2021 – Singer Leba Hibbert is overjoyed that Got to Be Tough, the last studio album released by Toots and The Maytals, won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album yesterday.

The event was held virtually at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The band’s leader was her father, Toots Hibbert, who died last September due to complications from COVID-19.

“This is so bittersweet. He died and didn’t get to accept the award himself. However, we are celebrating his win and we are grateful,” Hibbert, who also provided back-up duties for her father, told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the announcement

“This signifies more recognition to my father’s work and more fans. This is a great record and the songs speak about the times that we are living in. I’d say his win is historical,” she added. Continue reading

How to [Maybe] Get a Reggae Grammy Nomination

The GRAMMY Nomination Process Simplified

By M. Peggy Quattro

Grammy Award and Logo

Since 1958, the GRAMMYs have celebrated music excellence. It is the music community’s highest honor & its only peer-based award.

The GRAMMY is awarded to musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, & industry professionals.

Inside Jamaica’s Reggae community, there’s always much discussion about the USA GRAMMY Awards, especially the highly coveted Best Reggae Album Award.

Ever since the first Reggae GRAMMY went to Black Uhuru in 1985 (when it was called Best Reggae Recording), there’s been dissension in the Reggae family, along with confusion, arguments, debates, & disagreements surrounding why someone was nominated…or why not.

Let’s start with some facts: currently, there are  30 fields (General, Pop, Rock, Reggae, etc.) to be considered, as well as 84 distinct award categories across those fields. The Reggae category is for “an album containing at least 51% playing time of new Reggae recordings.”

To be clear, I am not an Academy member or a Reggae GRAMMY expert. However, I join others who are interested in how the “final five” selection comes about. So, I set out to educate myself & now I can share what I’ve learned with you.

What follows is information on the Recording Academy, how to join, & the GRAMMY Nomination process. Academy links are provided for more info. I truly hope this helps answer the countless questions as to how, when, who, and why a Reggae album ultimately acquires this sought-after recognition.


FIRSTLY – JOIN THE ACADEMY

Like the GRAMMY Awards, Recording Academy membership is community-driven & peer-reviewed on an annual cycle. Pay attention to the dates & deadlines!

You must be invited to join. To be considered for an invitation:

  1. Get two strong recommendations from music industry peers. (Click this link to learn how to get recommendations.)
  2. Your profile is completed only after your recommendations are received by the Academy & you tell them more about your career.* Profiles must be complete by midnight on March 1 to be considered for that year’s class.
    *Candidates will receive an email with a link & candidate code to complete their career profile.

New member submissions are considered by the Recording Academy’s Peer Review Panel each spring, & will approve memberships at its sole discretion after assessing your submission. 

Grammy Award photo If approved by Peer Review, candidates are invited to join the Recording Academy by July 9 and have until that year’s GRAMMY Awards voting deadline to accept.

*Become a Recording Academy member here*

 THE WHO & HOW

Who can enter recordings for consideration? Do I qualify?

The Recording Academy accepts entries online from Professional & Voting Members, as well as registered media companies. Members are permitted to submit their own eligible recordings as well as the recordings of their peers for consideration.

How do media companies submit product for GRAMMY consideration?

Record labels, distribution companies & management firms qualify as media companies. Media companies must register with the Recording Academy every year to submit/enter recordings. Once your media company registration has been confirmed, the Awards department will send the media company’s designated administrator detailed submission instructions.  More Academy FAQ’s here.


“The Reggae GRAMMY Category does need some change. But change won’t happen if Reggae artists are on the menu…but NOT at the table.”  ~Barbara Johnson, Media Exec


Read This Interesting  Committee Background

I highly recommend you read this clip from a 2014 article by friend, writer & major Dancehall & Reggae enthusiast ROB “Boomshots” KENNER. He tells of his experience as an Academy Screening Committee member while raising a few very interesting questions. (More on the process below.)

ROB:  “[The] screening committee goes through every single album that had been submitted—usually by record labels, but sometimes by members of the Recording Academy. (In a category like reggae, where much of the music is produced by smaller independent labels who may not be familiar with the GRAMMY entry process, the best records are sometimes not even submitted.)

“Members of that committee were not supposed to concern ourselves with quality—our job was to determine whether each album belonged in the reggae category. The rules stated that 51% of the album’s tracks had to consist of reggae music (a genre that includes such disparate styles as roots reggae, ska, dub, and dancehall.)


“…Famous people tend to get more votes from clueless Academy members, regardless of the quality of their work.”


“…Famous people tend to get more votes from clueless Academy members, regardless of the quality of their work. This is especially true in specialized categories like reggae…That’s the reason why famous names like Marley, Toots, and Sly & Robbie stand a much better chance of winning in the reggae category than, say, Beres Hammond.

[Rob soon paid his membership fee and joined the Recording Academy as a voting member. His story continues:] “Here’s how the process works: Voting members review lists of all the eligible recordings in each category (the ones generated by screening committees like mine.)

“Members are supposed to vote only in their fields of expertise—and in a maximum of 9 out of the 31 fields on the ballot… A few categories are reserved for special nominating committees, but frankly—not enough… In the final voting process, members are allowed to vote in even more categories—up to 20, plus the 4 general categories.

“Bottom line: the vast majority of the nominations are chosen by people who have little real expertise in a given field. I refrained from voting in heavy metal and classical because I know very little about those genres. But I could have if I wanted to, and that strikes me as a problem.”   Read Rob’s entire 2014 Complex.com article here.


“We don’t need a dancehall category…that would set us back…people are being fooled about separating dancehall from reggae…We’re always trying to create something instead of focusing on what we have and building that.” ~Ibo Cooper, JaRia


NOW, HERE’S THE PROCESS…

SUBMISSION
It begins with members & record companies submitting entries, which are then screened for eligibility and category placement. The Academy’s voting members, all involved in the creative & technical processes of recording, then participate in (1) the nominating process that determines the five finalists in each category; & (2) the final voting process which determines the GRAMMY winners.

SCREENING
After review by 350 experts in various fields, the screening committee places the album in its proper category. No artistic or technical judgments about the recordings are made. The entries move on to the nominating committee.

NOMINATING
First-round ballots are sent to voting members in good dues standing. To help ensure the quality of the voting, members are directed to vote only in their areas of expertise; they may vote in up to 15 categories in the genre fields plus the four categories of the General Field (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, & Best New Artist.) Ballots are tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Deloitte.

FINAL VOTING   (Note: This is where I’m a little confused. The Reggae category is not sent to a Nominations Review Committee–see graphic below–before the final vote. The Reggae nominees selected from the first nominating committee go right to final vote, with no review. Maybe someone reading this can explain it to us.)grammy voting graphic Final-round ballots are then sent to voting members in good dues standing. In this final round, Recording Academy members may vote in up to 15 categories in the genre fields plus the four categories of the General Field.

So good people, that’s how it’s done!


More Helpful Info:

Key Dates for 2020-2021

  • Sept. 1, 2019—Aug. 31, 2020Product Eligibility Period
  • Sept. 30—Oct. 12, 2020: First-Round Voting—eligible members vote to determine the 2021 nominees!
  • Nov. 24: Nominations Announcement!
  • Dec. 7, 2020—Jan. 4, 202: Final-Round Voting—this round determines the GRAMMY winners!
  • Jan. 31, 2021: 63rd GRAMMY Awards & Premiere Ceremony (8 p.m.CBS)

Check it! Recent Academy Changes

You will notice that any terms that include the word urban* have been removed from category titles. The Recording Academy stated in November 2020 “that describing music as ‘urban’ and ‘urban contemporary’ has ‘historically been used as a way to separate Black artists’ from the (white) artistic mainstream.”
*Exception, one Latin category… go figure. 

2020 grammy award logoOther changes announced involve Best New Artist parameters & taking a closer look at all possible conflicts of interest.

Interestingly, “the Academy members who serve on its so-called nomination reviews committees, which determine the final nominees in most award categories, must disclose any connections they have to potentially nominated artists and projects.”

“Two glaring disclosures only now being asked are:  (1) Do you have any “immediate family ties” to a potential nominee? And (2) Will you as a voter, have any “direct or indirect financial ties” to a project or artist under consideration?”

But, as with all vague changes & GRAMMY nominations, there are questions, controversies, and contention. 

LASTLY – ABOUT PROMOTION

Labels, artists & media companies are welcome to promote their album but must follow these Voting & Solicitation Guidelines, i.e., voters may not accept money or anything of value for a vote, no agreement to trade votes, & voters must not be influenced in any other way other than their own analysis of merit.


I hope this helps you understand the GRAMMY Awards nomination & voting process. If you like this info or have a question, say so in the comments below.

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UK Reggae: David Hinds/Steel Pulse Interview

David Hinds: On Tour, On New Album, on United Front for Africa

Interview and Photos by Jan Salzman / Edited by M. Peggy Quattro

July 14, 2008 – Malibu, CA – Steel Pulse has been one of my favorite bands for about 25 years. In 1985, the popular band from Birmingham won the coveted Grammy award for their album Babylon The Bandit. More Grammy nominations came for Victims, Rastafari Centennial, Rage and Fury, Living Legacy, and African Holocaust. Steel Pulse has recorded 16 albums throughout their illustrious career.

David Hinds – Malibu Inn

David Hinds, central songwriter and lead singer, hails from Birmingham, England. His music has always been tinged with political opinions; he makes his stand in the name of justice. There are also spiritually uplifting songs and deep love songs. This year celebrates 30 years since the release of their first album, Handsworth Revolution, in 1978. David is eloquent, kind, and remains boyishly cute after all these years. Together with his associate, vocalist and keyboardist Selwyn Brown, they form the core of Steel Pulse. I caught up with David Hinds recently at the Malibu Inn. After a tightly packed show, he took time to answer a few questions. Here is my interview with David Hinds: Continue reading

Julian Marley: In His Own Words Interview 2011 & 2020 Update

UPDATE 2020:  Julian “JuJu” Marley is currently in Jamaica during the COVID-19. He is keeping busy with his music, his “JuJu Royal” CBD line, & supporting people globally as we go through this pandemic together.  Touring to support his latest Grammy-nominated album, As I Am, is temporarily on hold. So instead, Julian streams his campfire sessions where he sings and plays guitar. 

In Feb., Julian participated in the opening of Trench Town’s Cornerstone Learning Center, founded by the Marley brothers and the Ghetto Youths Foundation. In April, he was part of Jamaica’s Telethon to raise funds for the first responders. He talks about the new music he is producing now, which highlights the 80s Afrobeats influence he enjoyed while growing up in multi-cultural London.

To watch & listen to Julian Marley’s latest single “Fly,” a tribute to his daughter who passed away in 2019 from cancer, go to the link at the end of this interview ↓↓↓♥

Julian Marley – In His Own Words

By M. Peggy Quattro

Miami, FL, 2011 – Julian Ricardo Marley, a seasoned Roots Reggae performer, is a multi-talented musician, writer, and singer. Born June 4, 1975, in London, Julian is the only British-born Marley son. He spent summers with his extended family in Kingston, where he tuned in to Rastafari and became immersed in the Marleys’ musical environment. A self-taught musician, Julian is skilled at guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards. Since the 1996 release of his debut CD  Lion in the Morning, Julian “JuJu” Marley has traveled the world extensively to perform alongside his talented brothers. The 2003 CD Time and Place, and 2009’s Awake, have resulted in a large legion of loyal fans that attend his solo performances. At the invitation of the Jamaican government, Julian Marley and the Uprising band represented his adopted country and performed at the historic 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Julian at Recife Fest 2010

Julian spends time between London, Kingston, and Miami; much time is devoted to working and recording in the family-owned Lions Den studio. On a recent mini-Florida tour, I caught up with Julian following his casual and intimate performance at Pineapple Groove in Delray Beach, Fla. Continue reading

Garnet Silk Biography 2000

Garnet Silk Bio

By M Peggy Quattro    (written in 2000 for the release of Definitive Collection)

Garnet Silk, the young singer/songwriter who died in a horrific fire at the age of 28, was one of the brightest stars to ever shine in the Reggae galaxy. During his short, illustrious career, Garnet Silk was hailed by many as “the next Bob Marley.”

After five years of lewd and rude Dancehall lyrics, Garnet ignited the stagnant music arena with Roots Rasta music. He is credited as the artist most responsible for the conscious and spiritual resurgence of early 90’s Reggae. His profound lyrics and distinctive vocal styling—a throwback to the poignant messages of the Marley era—captured an international audience.

From 1992 to 1994, Garnet Silk released a multitude of songs that soared up Reggae charts and touched the lives of those who heard them. The long-awaited Big Beat/Atlantic Garnet Silk: The Definitive Collection is a celebration of the memory—and a tribute to the music—of this legendary artist.

Recorded at Tuff Gong and Couch Studios in Kingston and mixed at Kariang Studio in Ocho Rios, this two-CD set features 20 songs recorded and/or re-recorded over a three year span. Garnet’s silky voice is enhanced by the assemblage of Jamaica’s finest musicians—Sly & Robbie, Tyrone Downie, Earl “Wya” Lindo, Mikey Boo Richards, Earl “Chinna” Smith, Mikey Chung, Dean Fraser, and Sticky Thompson, to name a few. Garnet insisted that real instruments were to be used and all the musicians were to be in the studio at the same time. “Like the Wailers,” said Tony Chin Loy, co-founder of Kariang Productions and co-manager, “the old fashioned way—the Bob Marley way.” Chin Loy revealed that when Sly Dunbar came to do the project he had not played a real drum kit in five years!

Continue reading

Tribute to Mother Booker – A Life Abundant with Love 2008

South Florida Sends Cedella Marley Booker Home:  A Loving Tribute in Word, Song, and Dance

By M. Peggy Quattro

April 23, 2008, Miami, FL –
One week following Mother Booker’s journey to Zion, hundreds in the South Florida community joined hands and hearts at a memorial service inside Miami’s beautiful Garden House at Fairchild Tropical Garden. The lush botanical garden is only minutes from Ms. B’s home, a large residence on a sprawling estate. In the late ‘70s, son Bob Marley bought the home in Pinecrest for his mother, and it is where Ms. B lived a life surrounded by her children, grand and great-grandchildren, and the home where, on April 8, she passed on in her sleep, surrounded by her loving family.

The Booker/Marley family, in paying tribute to their matriarch, also paid tribute to her devoted friends and fans when they presented an exquisite memorial service that honored the “smiling woman of song.” The setting was amazing and beautiful, from the gorgeous green of the garden and tropical trees to the touches of Africa and Rastafari that adorned and decorated the intimate Garden House. The presentation was fit for a queen, and in South Florida’s eyes and hearts, that is exactly who Cedella Marley Booker will always remain. Continue reading

Nadine Sutherland – Hitbound! V4#4 1986

Nadine Sutherland – Hitbound!  1986

By I. Jabulani Tafari

On Sunday, May 11, 1986, the fifth anniversary of Bob Marley’s physical departure from this earth, Tuff Gong recording artist Nadine Sutherland was the only Reggae artist in a Marley Memorial/Mother’s Day Soca/Reggae Spectacular at the Carillion Hotel, Miami Beach. From the moment that she entered the spotlights, it was obvious that the 18-year-old teen queen is already a veteran of the stage, is overflowing with confidence and thoroughly enjoys herself when performing.

Fittingly, Nadine was the only performer that night to pay tribute to Brother Bob in word and song. She crowned her set with Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” which she said was especially for her mother Beverly Sutherland, who was present in the audience for that Mother’s Day show. I spoke with Nadine after her very well-received performance.

JABU: What does Bob Marley mean to you?

NADINE: ‘He means a lot’ would sound like a cliché, seen. But the first thing I can remember which played a very important part in my life was the first time I went to (Tuff Gong) studio. I was standing and singing and he came in and said, ‘Give the youth a seat nuh man.’ And he was the one who went for the seat and told me to sit down. Can you imagine how I felt when this great man, this big Reggae superstar went for a seat and made me sit down? It was nice. And I’ve seen him on other occasions and he was always very nice and cool and I heard that I was one of his favorite singers. He means a lot, the little that I’ve known. I’ve grown very much to like him.

I’ve seen [Bob Marley] on other occasions and he was always very nice and cool and I heard that I was one of his favorite singers.

JABU: How do you manage to fit in the entertainment business with your schoolwork?

NADINE: Well, it’s not a thing that I manage. It has to be done and it just happens and it is done. Right now I’m at EXED Community College doing business administration first year.

JABU: What kind of live performance have you done since the start of ’86?

NADINE: I did two concerts in Bermuda in February (with the Ital Foundation band) and then I went to Jamaica and did a (Tuff Gong) concert in Negril. Then I did a small concert at CAST (College of Arts Science and Technology) for Winnie Mandela. That was a good concert. And here I am in Miami now.

JABU: What was the reception like in Bermuda considering that your records are not really distributed there?

NADINE: I was surprised you know, because the first night, people who were Reggae fans, who listen to the radio and hear my music, they came out. And the second night the crowd at the ‘Spinning Wheel’ doubled the first night.

JABU: OK. So what kind of studio work do you have on line?

NADINE: Right now I’m not working on anything because of school, but I think that during the summer we’ll start working seriously on a new 45.

JABU: Who manages you and produces you records?

NADINE: My management is my parents and the producer is between Willie Lindo and Sangie Davis.

JABU: You’ve had a lot of good songs written for you. Any chance of you going into songwriting yourself?

NADINE: To tell you the truth, I’m very good at poetry. I can write very good poems. I’ve written two songs but I haven’t recorded them, no one knows about them. I think I have an inferiority complex about my music. When you want to write something I know you have to take it step by step. If I’m putting out something I want the standard to be very very good, and right now I’m in the learning stage of writing music. So I guess, when you hear the BOOM song come out, you’ll know that I’ve graduated in the writing field.

JABU: Do you play any instruments?

NADINE: Well actually, I took the piano. I wouldn’t say I play. I know the keys and everything, so I took it. I can help myself. And the recorder, I learnt to play it at Andrews.

JABU: Is this your first show in Miami?

NADINE: No, it’s my second show. My first show was in 1982. It was a Bob Marley Memorial too, with the Tuff Gong posse – Melody Makers, Rita, the I-Threes and Wailers, and everybody.

JABU: How long have you been singing professionally?

NADINE: Six years.

JABU: In terms of knowing what it takes to be a performing and recording artist, would you say you’ve still got a lot to learn or that you’ve covered most of the basics?

NADINE: As always, everybody learns something new every day and I think I’ve got a lot more to learn. Nuff nuff more because I’ve been protected from certain things in the music business. As you notice, I always have parents and my family around me. So certain things in the business that people know about, I just hear about them. So there is more to learn, more to experience. I’m still in my youth stage.

JABU: Do you think it’s anymore difficult for you as a young female artist, as compared to, say Ziggy Marley, Junior Tucker, or any other young male artists?

NADINE: Yes, it’s different. People tend to watch me more, and women have certain standards to live up to. And being a singer, especially a young one, everybody seems to think something immoral. That’s one of the problems I can’t face up to. Because when I hear the rumors ‘bout me and I know they’re untrue, it kind of hurts me and I know I’m not like that. The next thing again, a young man will be able to tour, ‘cause I’m a girl, I have to have some guardian or somebody.

…women have certain standards to live up to…being a singer, especially a young one, everybody seems to think something immoral.

JABU: Thank you very much and all the best.

NADINE: Yeah, it was nice talking with you, Jabulani.

Chances have proved to be right for Reggae lovers in North America to get an opportunity to see the Tuff Gong teen queen in action during the summer of 1986. With negotiations finalized for two Bunny Wailer shows in the U.S. and maybe England, Nadine has been included in the Solomonic package along with Leroy “Heptones” Sibbles and the 809 Band. Then again, there’s a possibility of a six-week summer tour of North America by a group of Tuff Gong artists. Either way, one thing is certain, Nadine Sutherland is internationally hitbound.